During recent years, society has adapted to the way technology is used to streamline news. Drake journalism professors see a trend in how technology is changing the way we interact with one another and in traditional news outlets becoming less relevant.
According to Pew Research Center, 62 percent of U.S. adults get their news from social media. Drake journalism professors see this change and are adapting their ways of teaching to prepare their students for the future.
Jill VanWyke, associate professor of news at Drake, thinks that companies such as Facebook and Twitter are taking the control away from publishers.
“Most people, especially younger people, get their news from social media,” VanWyke said. “It used to be that the newspaper or the radio news stations determined what news you got. Now its companies like Facebook and Twitter that determine what news you’re getting. The publishers and news organizations have lost control.” VanWyke thinks that these companies are keeping secrets from the public regarding their algorithm.
The most notable of recent controversies was the 2016 election with Donald Trump and Russia. “Facebook always seems to keep its mouth shut about their algorithm, and there has been a lot of speculation about how accurate it is. This came up a few times in the 2016 election,” VanWyke said. “This is concerning because these organizations
t hold any journalistic consequences, and they are just concerned about making money.”Although older generations are adapting to the ways news is consumed, youngergenerations have reasons for using social media as the source for their news.
Margo Burnard,sophomore at Drake, has some insight on why current students consume news the way they do.
“I get my news mostly through snapchat news stories on the current events going on.However, I think that questionable news gets spread all the time,” Burnard said. “The mainreason I use snapchat is that I go on the app pretty often, and it is video which keeps it interesting.”
Although it is convenient for younger generations to get news this way, the proper steps need to be taken to make sure the sources are always credible. The first step is to have someone who knows how these companies function, and toinform the public.
Chris Snider, a professor at Drake and social media expert, has some reasonswhy companies like Facebook are soaring past physical news publishers.
“I think the key to delivering news is to go where the people are. Social media isobviously where people are spending a lot of their time, so it only makes sense that it would bethe best way to rely on news,” Snider said. “The scary thing is that we have become so reliant oncompanies like Facebook deciding what news they want to show us. The good percentage of anynews site is most likely controlled by Facebook.”
Although Snider thinks that younger generations are susceptible to false informationbeing spread, he thinks there are some steps that can be taken to prevent this.
“Im trained as a journalist to always question what you see. I always assume things are false and wrong until I can confirm it in multiple places,” Snider said. “The trick is to know what some of these sources are, and compare them to the original story.”